Praying for Wilsonville, AL – also the countdown to the end! (of our list)

Before we take a look at Wilsonville’s background and pray for that town, I wanted to share some neat things I learned over on the West Blocton post. Michael Logan, whose family has lived there for over 100 years, was kind enough to let me know the current mayor’s name – Mayor Gary Donner, and then answer some of my questions. He is the one who created a documentary about West Blocton. It was shown at the Sidewalk Film Festival. Here is some of the very interesting info he shared.
Overall, West Blocton is a wonderful little town where people care about one another. You don’t see that much any more in this day and age. Almost a Mayberry type feel.. What impressed me most while researching the documentary, for a town of around 1200 people, what a rich history West Blocton had. At one point in time, West Blocton was one of the largest coal mining towns in the South. Another interesting fact I discovered was that the commander of Air Force One during the Kennedy Administration was Colonel James B. Swindal. He was born and raised in West Blocton and he flew President Kennedy to Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. During World War II, per capita, there were more people in the military from West Blocton then any other city or town in the United States.”

I was so appreciative of Michael taking the time to fill us in on what makes West Blocton unique and beloved. I would love to have these kinds of insights into all the towns and cities we are praying for!  Now on to Wilsonville.

www.wilsonvilleal.com

Mayor Lee McCarty

Located in Shelby County

First settled in 1812 by Henry W. Robertson and family

Incorporated in 1947

Named for Adam Wilson, an early settler to the Shelby County

In 1900, Wilsonville was the largest town in the county, with a population of 1600.

  • Had hotels, various stores and a variety of industry – Cotton, logging and charcoal-making
  • In 1932, the Wilsonville State Bank failed. The number of businesses decreased.

The WWII years (1940-47) brought many defense workers to the area for the huge DuPont powder plant in nearby Childersburg.

  • Wilsonville was overflowing, with 2-4 families living in nearly every house
  • Powder plant was later converted to a paper mill. Many families stayed on.

Psalm 90:14-17 – “O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.”

There is nothing more satisfying then when we taste Your lovingkindness to us, Lord God. We are but dust, and yet You chose to make us in Your image, and to do whatever it took to have a relationship with us. Nothing and no one and no place can separate us from Your unfailing love. We too often lose sight of Your goodness and faithfulness. Establish Your goodness and love in our hearts so that we may not wander from You.

As I read through the historical accounts of the town of Wilsonville, I noticed it has a history of diligent and successful labor and industry. Thank You, Lord, for the work ethic that has been evident from the earliest days in this town, and for blessing their work the way that You have. We pray that that would not change, but that You would continue to bless this town and its economy. Let it increase and prosper. We pray that the business leaders, employees and residents of Wilsonville would recognize that it is by Your favor that You have established and confirmed the work of their hands, and in turn they would use it to invest in Your kingdom.

We pray that the people of this town would see Your hand at work in their lives and in their town. Let them turn away from the things of this world that promise to satisfy but only lead to destruction, and cause them to be satisfied with Your lovingkindness. Give them hope, joy and gladness even in the hardest places in life. We speak life over Wilsonville and every person in it. In Jesus’ name, we declare that every plan of the Evil One to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) in the lives of the people of Wilsonville would be brought to nothing, but that they would receive abundant life from the One who saves, heals and restores.

We pray for Mayor Lee McCarty, that he would taste Your lovingkindness and be satisfied in You. Let the leadership of this town see Your hand at work and give them the desire and the resources to join You in that work. Let them recognize that their own plans and successes will only lead to temporary success, at best, but that following Your plans will lead to eternal success and reward for them, their families and their town. Protect them from the enemy who wants to destroy them. Confirm and establish the work You have called them to do, and let it be richly satisfying to them.

We ask these things according to Your will, and therefore in confidence that You hear and will grant us what we ask. (I John 5:14-15). Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Only 2 more places to pray after this – Wilton and Woodstock! What has been your favorite place to pray for, thus far? Is there one that you’ve felt more burdened for than you expected to be?

 

Praying for Westover, Alabama

www.westoveralabama.org

Located in northeastern quadrant of Shelby County

  • Along the Hwy 280 corridor
  • 12 miles South of downtown Birmingham

Mayor Mark McLaughlin

Established in 1901 as a mail and passenger stop on the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic Railroad. Originally known as either Weldon or Cobb. It derived its current name from the railroad.

Incorporated as a town in 2001

  • Has gone from 2.5 square miles and a few hundred people to 22 square miles and well over 2,000 people
  • Has many community events throughout the year

2010 population: 2,200

Deuteronomy 30:15-16 – “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.”

Lord God, we bless Your name because You alone are worthy of all blessing and honor, power and glory. Thank You that in Jesus, we have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) Jesus, You are the fulfillment of the Law, and You are our life and prosperity, and we thank You and praise You.

Thank You for what You have done in Westover, Alabama, by multiplying its land and population over the past 13 years. We pray that You would be the Lord of Westover, and that its people would love the Lord their God. We pray that they would walk in Your ways and, because of Christ, be keepers of Your law. We pray that You would empower this town to live counter to the culture which tries to tear down and destroy families, communities and cities. As they do, we pray that You would increase their influence into that very culture around them. Use Westover, Alabama to make a difference in this state, in this nation and in this world.

We pray for Mayor McLaughlin and the men and women who help lead this town. We pray they would walk in Your ways and keep Your commands and judgments. As they do, we pray that You would bless them in their personal and professional lives. We pray that the plans You give them for their town would be even more successful than they imagine. Increase favor on them and through them, and prosper them as they keep Your ways.

Thank You for Your promises, Lord. We pray that Westover, Alabama would not only be known as a town that has grown so rapidly in the past decade, but also as a town that has experienced the promises and faithfulness of the Lord on their behalf.

Just 3 more municipalities to go, now! I’m thinking of doing a giveaway on our last one. Stay tuned for details!

 

 

Praying for West Jefferson

This was one of those towns that just doesn’t have a lot of information on it that I could find. I couldn’t even find out the name of the current mayor – or any mayor, for that matter. So, if any of our readers/fellow pray-ers know anything about this town, please let us hear from you! Here is the little bit of info I did find:

Located in west-central Jefferson County (I know that comes as a huge shock, given the name – ha!)

First settled by farmers in the 1880s

Population began to increase in the 1890s, due to the expanding steel and iron industry

More mines opened in the 1920s, bringing even more people to the community

West Jefferson High School opened in 1926

  • The town took on the name of the school because of its proximity. The original name of the community is unclear.)
  • High school closed in 2000 due to declining enrollment
  • Town hall now meets in the former school building and with funds donated from the alumni association of the school, they are restoring/renovating the building.

Incorporated in 1964

2010 population: 338

Southern town limit fronts the Black Warrior River

Isaiah 61:10-11 – “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,  My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”

Heavenly Father, we rejoice in You. You have called and appointed each of us for a specific purpose to bring glory to Your name. You delivered us when we were captives, and You declare freedom to us and through us. Hallelujah!

We pray for the town of West Jefferson, Alabama, and ask that this town would be one which greatly rejoices in You. By Your great name, cause every shackle to fall off and every captive to be set free in the salvation of the Lord through the power of the Gospel. We pray that this town, this community of people, would know who they are – who You have called them to be – both corporately as a town and as individuals. Wrap them in Your robes of righteousness. We pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would break the cycle of loss, and that You would clearly speak to them of who they are because of You. May they see and know and experience what it means to be joint-heirs with Christ.

Raise up the Church in the town of West Jefferson, Lord. Cause them to be Your ambassadors everywhere they go, and to know who they are in You. Do not let them be hindered by sin or the traditions and expectations of man. Give Your Church a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Empower them to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with You. (that’s from a verse in Micah, I think. Or is it Malachi? I always get those 2 confused.)

We als pray for the leadership of West Jefferson. Even though we don’t know their names, You do, Lord. We pray that You would grant them the joy of Your salvation. May Your Spirit rest on them and equip them with everything they need to do their jobs righteously. We thank You for the generous provision of the alumni of the former high school for the funds to help restore the building where the town’s leadership works, and we ask that those fund would be used wisely, and that it would help inspire and encourage the people of this town to see new life and progress happening around them. And we pray the same thing for the leadership that we prayed for the Church in this town, that they would do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with You. We pray that You would cause righteousness and praise to spring up through West Jefferson, Alabama. Amen.

As you know, we are nearing the end of our first goal of praying through all of the municipalities in the metro-Birmingham area! Once we do, what do you think our next goal should be? We’ve got some ideas, but I would love to hear your thoughts on it, too. 

 

 

 

 

West Blocton, Alabama

For two weeks, I was so excited that I had met my goal of posting twice a week. Then school started around here, and my middle child turned 10, and I turned another year older, as well. So between beginning of the year homeschool chaos and birthday celebrations, we are back at one post a week. Or maybe, on a subconscious level, I don’t want to reach the end of this list of municipalities. I have so enjoyed this project, that perhaps I am finding ways of  stretching it out to last as long as possible. Nah, that couldn’t be it. Anyhow, won’t you join me today in praying for West Blocton?

Located in northern Bibb County, about 40 miles SW of Birmingham, at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains

Mayor Jesse E. Reese (I had a hard time tracking down the name of the mayor, and this may be old information that I finally found, so if I am incorrect, please let me know.) Correction: the current mayor is Gary Donner. Thanks to Mike Logan for letting me know that!

Settled in the late 1880s by Russian-Jewish immigrants during the coal-mining boom. (see www.isjl.org for more on the history of Jewish people in the South.)

2010 population: 1, 240

  • A feature-length documentary, West Blocton: Small Town, Big Heart was made in 2012 by Michael J. Logan, an independent filmmaker whose family is from the town. It covers the history of the town from its inception in 1884 to present day.
  • Incorporated in 1901
  • First named Suttletown after an early store owner; then Smith; and finally West Blocton to differentiate from the nearby town of Blocton, which no longer exists.
  • The two towns were called “Blocton” because of the ton blocks of coal removed from the mines there.
  • The area is still known for its now-historic beehive ovens, built in the late 1880s for coke production. (Coke is a fuel derived from coal.) www.cokeovenspark.com
  • At the height of its production, 467 coke ovens produced 600 tons a day.

It seems we prayed out of this passage not too terribly long ago for another city, but this was the one I was drawn to today, and it’s one of my favorites.

Jeremiah 29:11-14a – “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by You,’ declares the LORD.”

Heavenly Father, we praise You because You are a great God who rules and reigns in holiness, splendor and unrivaled majesty. You are Sovereign over us and all things. Your will has been established from before the foundation of the world, and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). And even though you are so high and lifted up, so exalted, You desire to be with us. You want us to seek You and to find You. You draw near to us. How can this be? I don’t think we can hope to understand it, but to just respond with hearts of gratitude and praise and thanksgiving, and by worshipping You with our whole lives.

We pray for the town of West Blocton, Alabama, today. Thank You that You have a plan for this town’s welfare and future. You have established it for Your purposes and for their good. We pray that You would make that evident throughout this town, and in the lives of each person who lives there or who is somehow a part of West Blocton.

We pray for a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ would come to each home in West Blocton. Make the ones who already know You to be men and women of prayer. Cause them to tirelessly seek Your face, not for what You can do, but for who You are. May the Church in West Blocton be whole-life worshippers of the One True God, and in so doing let them find You – fresh revelations of Your mercy, Your grace, Your holiness, Your faithfulness. Cause these revelations to transform them and transform their town.

We pray for Mayor Donner and the rest of the leadership in West Blocton. Grant them wisdom and humility to seek You in all of their ways. Thank You for the assurance in this passage that they will find You when they seek You with all their hearts. If there is anything that is hindering “whole-hearted seeking” by them, we pray that You would reveal it and set them free from it. Equip them by Your grace to be the leaders You have called them to be. Encourage them and strengthen them as they put their trust in You.

We pray for all these things in the name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Amen.

What verse comes to your mind as you pray through this post with me? I would love to see it in the comments!